Chief Justice - Competence


The Chief Justice is often responsible for serving as the leader during private deliberations and is often first to voice their opinion. However, most supreme courts are non-hierarchical, meaning the Chief Justice does not necessarily have direct control over the actions of the other judges, and their personal ruling is equal in weight to the rulings of any associate judges on the court.

In several countries, the Chief Justice is second in line to the office of President or Governor General (or third in line, if there is a Vice President or Lieutenant Governor General), should the incumbent die or resign. For example, if the Governor General of Canada is unable to perform his or her duties, the Chief Justice of Canada performs the duties of the Governor General.

Apart from their intrinsic role in litigation, they may have additional responsibilities, such as "swearing in" high officers of state; for instance, the Chief Justice of the United States traditionally administers the oath of office at the inauguration ceremony of the President of the United States, as does the Chief Justice of South Africa at the inauguration of the President of South Africa.

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